Crispy Baked Onion Rings

This is how I make onion rings in the oven, not the frier. They are crispy on the outside, tender on the inside without getting soggy.

How to Make Crispy Baked Onion Rings. Made in the oven, not the frier. Much healthier! Recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

Like most of us, I made a resolution to keep January on the healthy side. To me that means not saying “no” to any food, but rather watching my portions. Except when it comes to this. I want to eat the whole batch.

Other resolutions? Get more organized, do more DIY stuff (thanks Pinterest), and work on my time management. I’ve been getting to the gym regularly, wearing out my daily planner, and consuming more veggies than I did the entire month of December.

One thing on my planner this month is onion rings. Because everyone has onion rings on their calendar, right? Such is my life.

How to Make Healthy, Crispy Baked Onion Rings | sallysbakingaddiction.com

Have I ever told you about my love for onion rings before? To be honest, they’re really just a vehicle for ketchup. I’ll have a little onion ring with my ketchup, please.

True story: my sister almost bought me an “I put ketchup on my ketchup” t-shirt. I wish she had. I’d wear it all the time.

I’m pretty sure we all can agree that onions taste so much better when they’re battered, fried, and dunked in ketchup. I went ahead and healthified this fried favorite to make it taste even better than what you’d get with your burger at a restaurant.

Don’t believe me? Try them. Dare ya.

How to Make Healthy, Crispy Baked Onion Rings | sallysbakingaddiction.com

I’ve often wondered why onion rings cost more than French fries, but after making these at home, I can now appreciate the work that goes into making the perfect batch!

Fried or not, there are a few things you must know ahead of time before making onion rings. Soaking the onions, applying the perfect amount of breading, some spice, and making sure they’re just crisp enough without getting soggy. Luckily, I cracked the crispy onion ring code in my kitchen yesterday and am happy to share today.

Onion rings are so easy to make a little lighter. And in true form, I’m not sacrificing any of the irresistible taste or crunchy texture in this lightened-up snack!

How to Make Healthy, Crispy Baked Onion Rings | sallysbakingaddiction.com

There are a lot of step-by-step photos for you today. I want you to make the best-ever crispy baked onion rings that you possibly can! Because this is a recipe you’ll want to make over and over again, I promise.

First, you’re going to get some large onions. I suggest some sweet onions for the best flavor. Slice them thick – about 1/2 inch thickness.

You’re going to give the rings a nice soak in low fat buttermilk. This is something I learned from my mom; it’s how she breads chicken. Here’s why you are soaking the onions in buttermilk: the buttermilk soak will soften your onions, making them tender inside the crispy coating. Furthermore, the buttermilk soak will allow the egg whites and all the breading to adhere easier to the onion slices. (More on breading later.)

The longer you soak the onions, the better. So yes, this recipe takes a bit of planning ahead. I soaked my onion slices overnight. Clearly this isn’t a feasible option for most folks, so anywhere from 4-6 hours would be ok. Just know that soaking them overnight will make them all the better.

Don’t have buttermilk? You can make your own. Measure 1/4 cup of white vinegar or fresh lemon juice in a quart-size measuring cup. Then, add enough milk (1%, 2%, or whole) to the same measuring cup until it reaches 1 quart. Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes. The homemade “buttermilk” will be somewhat curdled and ready to use for the soak.

How to Make Healthy, Crispy Baked Onion Rings | sallysbakingaddiction.com

Get your breading ready.

  • Whole wheat flour (because it really sticks to the onion)
  • Cornmeal (for crunch)
  • Panko breadcrumbs. Not familiar with Panko? Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb traditionally used as a coating for fried or baked foods. It’s available in most major grocery stores near the stuffing.

Here’s why Panko is better than regular breadcrumbs in this recipe: Panko is made from crustless bread and is coarsely ground into airy, large flakes. Panko flakes tend to stay crispier longer than regular breadcrumbs because they don’t absorb as much grease.

You can then flavor the breading with pepper, paprika, salt, lemon pepper, garlic powder. Really, whatever seasonings you prefer. I’ll list what I used in the full recipe below with the option of any said seasonings. The Panko I used was pre-seasoned, but I  made a note of that in the recipe.

How to Make Healthy, Crispy Baked Onion Rings | sallysbakingaddiction.com

Once the onion slices have soaked in buttermilk, they take a dip in beaten egg whites and then a generous dip into the breading. If you find the breading isn’t sticking, dip again into the egg whites, then into the breading.

This looks about right. ↓

How to Make Healthy, Crispy Baked Onion Rings | sallysbakingaddiction.com

Place in a single layer on your baking sheet and spray them with some nonstick spray, olive oil spray (which is sold in stores, though you can purchase this handy tool to make your own), or coconut oil spray (I get mine at Trader Joes). You’re doing this to really make sure the breading is soaked in.

Here’s what my onions looked like before baking:

How to Make Healthy, Crispy Baked Onion Rings | sallysbakingaddiction.com

Now they’re ready to bake. I had 2 batches because onions were enormous. Feel free to halve this recipe and only use 1 onion if you’re making them just for yourself and/or one other person.

Here is the important thing about the bake time: all ovens are different! And everyone likes a different level of crispiness. I baked my onion rings in my oven for 30 minutes, rotating and flipping once, and they were perfectly crisp! Especially after sitting out for about 10 minutes before digging in.

Just bake the onion rings until they’ve reached your desired level of brownness.

How to Make Healthy, Crispy Baked Onion Rings | sallysbakingaddiction.com

Not optional? Ketchup! Of course if you’re not a fan of ketchup, dip in BBQ, honey mustard (is that weird?), ranch, or whatever zesty dip you’re a fan of. Kevin left his plain. I know. I mean, I don’t know.

Get ready for your mind to be blown.

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

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Crispy Baked Onion Rings

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 4-12 hours, 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 5-13 hours
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: Appetizers
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside without getting soggy. You won’t even realize these onion rings are baked!


Ingredients

  • 2 large sweet onions, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 quart (950ml) low fat buttermilk*
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2/3 cup (85g) whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 3/4 cup (125g) ground cornmeal
  • 1 cup (60g) Panko bread crumbs*
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • nonstick spray like PAM, olive oil spray, or coconut oil spray (found mine at Trader Joe’s)

Instructions

  1. At least 4 hours ahead of time, place the sliced onion rings into a large dish and pour buttermilk overtop. You don’t have to drown the onions, just make sure they are somewhat submerged. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator. In this step, you are soaking the onions, which will tenderize them. I strongly suggest soaking them for at least 12 hours for the best taste. I soaked mine overnight.
  2. Once the onions have soaked, remove from the refrigerator. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites. Set aside. In a large shallow dish (I used a pie dish), mix the whole wheat flour, cornmeal, bread crumbs, and the seasonings together until combined.
  4. Remove each ring from the buttermilk and dip in egg whites. Immediately submerge in the bread crumb mixture, mixing around to coat the onion well. If the bread crumbs won’t adhere, dip in egg whites and then the breading again. If you find you need more breading, make more.
  5. Lay each breaded ring on the baking sheets in a single layer. You’ll have two batches if your onions were quite large like mine. When all the rings are breaded, spray each with nonstick spray to “seal” the breading, which will prevent the breading from staying raw and allows it to bake onto the onion rings.
  6. Bake each batch for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and flip each ring using tongs. Spray the other side with nonstick spray. Then bake for 15 more minutes. A note about bake time: all ovens are different! And everyone likes a different level of crispiness. I baked my onion rings in my oven for 30 minutes, rotating and flipping once, and they were perfectly brown and crisp. Just bake the rings until they reach your desired level of brownness.
  7. Allow the onion rings to sit out for 10 minutes before digging in. Enjoy immediately.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Begin the night before by soaking your onions overnight in step 1. You can freeze baked onion rings for up to 2-3 months. Bake at 350°F (177°C) for 20 minutes or until warmed through.
  2. Buttermilk: Read above for why buttermilk is used and how to make your own at home.
  3. Breadcrumbs: Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb traditionally used as a coating for fried or baked foods. It’s available in most major grocery stores near the stuffing. Panko is heavily preferred opposed to regular bread crumbs because they tend to stay crispier longer. You may buy seasoned or unseasoned and then add more/less seasonings to your breading if preferred.
  4. Seasoning: You can flavor the breading with the seasonings listed or use more/less pepper, paprika, and salt. The recipe is written as if my breading was not seasoned. Some other seasonings to try? Lemon pepper and/or garlic powder. Whatever seasonings you prefer.

Keywords: crispy baked onion rings

The tricks for CRUNCHY baked onion rings at home! Find the recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

189 Comments

  1. I love the tip of soaking the onions longer. Makes total sense! Can’t wait to try these. Now, you’ll have to go search for that cool shirt. I’m more of a fry sauce kind of gal. (Mayo and ketchup mixed together…sometimes bbq sauce with the mayo is really good!)
    Have a great rest of your day, Sally!

    1. I’ve had fry sauce before and I must say, I’m not a fan of mayo at all but I’ll have it mixed with ketchup. Thanks for the music suggestions last night Gloria!

  2. These look so crispy!! I get a huge craving for onion rings every now and then. I really don’t eat them that often, but whenever I do I re-discover how good they are. Now if I get a craving, I can just make them at home. And it looks pretty easy! Love your step-by-step photos! 🙂

    1. I just made these yesterday BEth and I’m already craving them again. Must make again this weekend. Hope you try them!

  3. Occasionally I have a craving for crispy delicious onion rings. After seeing this on your blog today, my craving has re surfaced! These look like the most perfect onion rings to try. In fact I will try this recipe on Saturday!

    1. Nice! Karen, let me know how you like them. I’m craving onion rings all over again since we finished them off last night.

  4. I love onion rings too but certainly can’t stand when you buy them at the store and all that oil just seeps out everywhere. These look so delicious, crispy and perfectly yellowed.

  5. Definitely going to try these! We had frozen (I know!) onion rings last night and they just were blah. I don’t fry for the mess it makes not to mention it’s not good for you. These will be perfect!

    1. We always have a bag of frozen onion rings in the freezer, but definitely won’t be buying them again. They don’t compare to these! Let me know how you like these, Lisa.

  6. You have no idea how hungry you are making me right now. Onion rings are my weakness, even above french fries. Love the you lightened them up without sacrificing flavor and crunch!

  7. I think that most things are vehicles for ketchup actually haha. My family makes fun of me because I will eat almost anything savory with ketchup. It’s gotten to the point where the ketchup bottle is already on the table when I come down for dinner. As for these onion rings, I think you’ve created another perfect vehicle (although I have been known to eat an onion ring or two without ketchup because I love them that much *gasp*) and I love how they’re baked instead of fried, which makes them that much more alluring.

  8. These look great! Can’t wait to try ’em. Especially loaded with ketchup! I love ketchup but my boyfriend always makes fun of me when I say it because I say “catch-up” instead. Oh well. It’s still yummy!
    Liz

  9. Yummmmmm … like that they’re baked and not deep fried. I am also a ketchup addict. Ketchup on ketchup on ketchup. Kind of gross, yet wonderful 🙂

  10. “To be honest, they’re really just a vehicle for ketchup. I’ll have a little onion ring with my ketchup, please.” <— Omg I feel that way about all condiments from mustard to balsamic reduction to any kind of dip. Live in abundance 🙂 I need extra, always. And then extra. And I love the sound of that tshirt. LOL

    You nailed these. I honestly don't love onions enough to actually put the time into recreating the perfect baked onion ring but I can ONLY imagine how hard it was. From the soaking to the breading/coating, to getting it to stick, to the baking time/temp. Something like a 'simple onion ring' isn't so simple when you're trying to crack the code. Great work Sally!

  11. These look great Sally! I can’t wait to try them! I love that they are baked and not fried. These look pretty easy to make too. Pinned! 🙂

  12. Are you using a yellow onion? These look FANTASTIC and I can’t wait to try them I <3 onion rings and love the baked idea since we don't fry much at home!

  13. Oh my gosh, I’m SO excited! I LOOOOOOVE onion rings, but I have them only once a millennium or so because they are so unhealthy! These look wonderful, and I could almost taste them from the photographs! Great pictures, by the way…such pretty loops :). My sister is, like you, a ketchup fiend, but I’m a total mustard freak. Especially honey mustard! Onion rings and honey mustard…give it a try! 😉

    1. Oh Caley. I have a special place in my heart for honey mustard. I love dipping french fries into it. When, of course, I’m not using ketchup. I love making honey mustard dressings for my salads. So good!

  14. Onion rings are one of those foods that I just can’t quit, no matter how hard I try. Like pizza. It’ll always be my soul-mate. Love that these onion rings are baked but still look every bit as crispy and delicious as their deep-fried cousin. I MUST TRY THEM. And um, Kevin? What’s with the no dip? Condiments are my life. (Pssst, Sally, are you sure you shouldn’t be marrying me?!)

    1. I don’t understand. The man even eats his sandwiches without condiments. I’m the polar opposite. I have condiments with food, not the other way around and *gasp! certainly not without condiments all together. Try these!!

  15. I’ve had onion rings on my list for quite a while, and I’m done waiting. Your recipe and onion rings look absolutely perfect and I’m ready to make it happen ASAP. Thanks for figuring out the perfect crispy recipe Sally–that’s the biggest thing I was worried about, and getting the onions nice and tender. You’re a genius!!

  16. My New Year’s Goal was to cook more, and these are DEFINITELY going on the list of things I’m making. My guy loves onion rings (even more than fries, but not as much as ketchup!) and always orders them from Burger King. Despite his staunch aversion to healthy things, I’m basically positive these would pass. 😉

    P.S. Does that shirt your sister saw come in men’s sizes too?? My guy could get good use out of it…

    1. I have no clue about the shirt coming in mens sizes, I need to search for one online! And if you make these Amy – you must let me know!

  17. Oh wow, onion rings I’m allowed to eat?! Amazing!! These are most definitely getting made very soon! Thank you, you’ve made my day 🙂 x x

  18. Haha, I think I need that shirt. Eh, actually, I need these onion rings! We have a deep fryer, but we have never made onion rings, healthy or not. I’m all for doing these! Your post is SO helpful and even with my habit of making not-so-crispy baked chips, etc., I think I could do this. I KNOW I could eat ’em, no problem! 🙂

    1. My mom has a fryer and I love making fries in it. But yeah, we’ve never tried onion rings in it. I like them super crispy and I fear I couldn’t get them as crispy in the fryer. Oh well, worth a shot when I want the real deal. Let me know if you try them Mary Frances!

  19. I can’t believe these are baked Sally! They look just like fried! So crunchy and addicting – I could eat my way through the entire batch! Right this very minute.

  20. Haha! My post tomorrow has baked onion rings, but I have to say that I totally did not soak mine! I thought mine were pretty perfect, but I will be trying this next time for sure!!

    And yes to the ketchup. I am a huge condiments girl. Love them!

  21. Love that these are baked, onion rings are one of the foods that makes me feel really guilty. Generally cuz I dunk them in ranch. You’d think all the sugar I eat would make me feel guilty but no LOL. So I usually do not order them at restaurants, but now I am going to just have to make them at home! These look great, and so crispy!!

  22. I used to really love Hardee’s curly onion fries, which as it turns out are not very healthy 😉 This recipe is amazing… love how crunchy/crispy they turned out! I’ll definitely be trying.

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